Dr Linda de Caestecker, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Director for Public Health.
By Lucy Ashton
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Director for Public Health is reminding the public of the need to continue following the guidance and to increase the amount of lateral flow device (LFD) testing to minimise the risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19.
The guidance comes following the confirmation of a small number of cases of the newly recognised Omicron variant within Greater Glasgow and Clyde. In addition to the threat of the new variant, existing variants continue to transmit in the community.
However, tonight, responding to reports of patients being turned away from booster vaccination appointments because they have had their second dose less than 24 weeks ago, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, pictured right, said: “Scotland is packed full of thoughtful and conscientious people who want to get their booster jab as swiftly as possible.
“It’s frustrating for them to hear that boosters can now be booked only to turn up and discover that the Health Secretary hasn’t sorted the logistics out with the NHS and they have to be turned away.
“I have been calling for months for the Government to put rocket boosters under the booster programme. I wish the Health Secretary had started laying the groundwork then, rather than having to patch things up in a hurry.”
Dr Linda de Caestecker, pictured above, said: “While more time is needed to help us better understand the Omicron variant, the single best way to minimise the spread of this potentially more transmissible variant, is to follow the existing guidance already in place which has been effective in protecting us so far.
“This means, washing your hands frequently, maintaining social distancing, wearing a mask wherever appropriate and working from home if possible. Test yourself regularly for COVID-19 by using lateral flow devices (LFDs) which you can get for free from walk-in centres, community pharmacies and online. This is particularly important ahead of social gatherings or mixing with other households in the run up to Christmas.
“Be extra vigilant, and on the lookout for recognised symptoms. If you’re showing any symptoms, make sure to order a PCR test, or book a centre at a testing site. In the meantime, self-isolate until you know your results.
“Following these rules is key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 in all forms.”
On vaccination, the director for public health reminded the public to continue coming forward to protect themselves against the virus. Dr de Caestecker said:
“Although we need to understand how effective the vaccine is against the new variant, we know it is extremely effective against existing variants which make up the overwhelming majority of new COVID-19 cases. This includes both minimising transmission and the severity of the illness.
“If you haven’t already had either your first or second vaccination, please book an appointment online or via phone on 0800 030 8013. Those eligible for second jags and boosters can also make their appointments online or by phone if they are unable to make the time and dates allocated to them.”
- NHS Inform website: https://www.nhsinform.scot/
- Vaccine hotline: 0800 030 8013
- Book or change a booster appointment: https://www.nhsinform.scot/flu-vaccine/invitations-and-appointments/book-a-flu-or-coronavirus-booster-vaccination/
- Register for a first COVID-19 vaccine: https://register.vacs.nhs.scot/
- Rearrange your second appointment: https://www.nhsinform.scot/covid-19-vaccine/invitations-and-appointments/rearrange-or-opt-out-of-your-coronavirus-vaccination-appointment
- Order LFDs online: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/regular-rapid-coronavirus-tests-if-you-do-not-have-symptoms/
- Book a PCR test: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/test-and-protect/coronavirus-covid-19-testing/